Many say it is tricky to mix family and business, PALMER AND LOLA Sporting Goods (a.k.a PAL Sporting Goods) however, begs to differ. With an experience of over 20 years in the fashion business, married duo Poyan and Penny have, embarked on the adventure of creating a sportswear brand that stands for family and quality, and brings to life the very essence of sports and play.
PAL Sporting Goods taps into the intrinsic family values inherent in sports and embraces all in a space where everyone is welcome. They draw on their strength and connection as a family in order to drive the brand towards success, making use of their unique understanding of each other, and the business, when moving forward. Could this be the recipe for success?
We stopped by to have a chat with founders Poyan and Penny to learn a little more about the challenges and advantages that come with being the living and breathing example of a thriving family-run brand.
Beyond surface level, how do clothes affect our experience of sports?
I believe that, in sports, you can either play to win, to enjoy yourself, or both of course. For us it’s a bit about the comfort, but also about looking good in victory or in defeat. It’s also a matter of presenting yourself in the mindset of sport. Where there is a feeling of belonging to a team, of having to play fair, and showing commitment.
What would you say are the pillars for PAL Sporting goods?
Family-driven banter, sport leisure-wear where quality rises above hype, and the long life and durability of our products.
Have you always had an appreciation for clothes and their design?
For as long as I can remember, I have always had the question of ‘how and why?’. I am still very much an excited kid when it comes to finding out which fabrics can be matched to which colours and so on. Penny always feels like I have an encyclopedia in my mind where I go to and look up certain ideas. It’s a never-ending story, just like the movie 😉
At what point did you decide to turn your love of sports into a clothing brand?
There are many who love sports, and not everyone goes on to design clothes for them! Imagine being the Eddie the Eagle of sports and then being a future hall of famer at the same time. A little bit of everything but a lot of one thing. PAL was born from a story that already took place inside our family and in the relationship with me and my wife. There were so many good stories and tales we just had to bring it to life basically.
What advantages would you say you have running the brand as a couple, as opposed to an individual entrepreneur? Any disadvantages?
Penny is my gatekeeper to good and bad Ideas. I only listen to her basically, and she trusts and values me a lot. She likes to get into my mindset of inspiration and support me with zero ego.
I don’t think there are many people out there that can switch business and private so drastically as we can. The respect we have for each other is enormous, but also the honesty present is something you only have in really close relationships.
We have strong opinions, we both do. When these opinions are laid out on the table it’s a very refreshing thing that we are brutally honest, but understand our place in the company.
Do you both take on different roles in the company or are you both involved in everything?
Poyan is all about the design and production process. Penny is truly the concept, build-up, and execution of all campaigns. She decides which language we as PAL Sporting Goods will speak. Armin is basically is the toughest yarn to deal with 😉 He and his team run the technical side and online presence, the B2C, and all the technicalities that come with this.
How do you think your family oriented values and history impact your products?
I think a bit of rivalry within and between us and the families build us to become PAL Sporting Goods. It pushes you to not quit, to pull through, and respect each other in the journey. You see, we always say it’s all for fun, but we all want the family Cup 😉
You mention you would like for your clothes to be passed down for generations, does this influence your designs?
In a lot of ways yes it does. I always just love going back and looking at sportswear from the ’70s to the ’00s. I would like the product to have that flair, yet be recognisable like these eras. Almost like an early sci-fi movie that would surprise you once again if you would re-watch it after 20 years.
What role does sustainability play in PAL Sporting Goods?
We don’t want to scream something just for hype. We are quite simple, we use regenerated tarns for our 550grm styles and even for our 450grm and 290grm, we buy the yarns to exactly what we produce. In the future who knows, I truly believe in an honest product made by honest people. For now, we make products that are long-lasting and will hopefully comfort the family for years.
Up until now, what PAL Sporting Goods piece have you designed that you are most attached to and why?
For me personally, the PAL down coat which will be released in July 2022. Penny says the half zip is something she remembered so well from old items out of her grandfather’s closet. You would pull it over your clothes and would be team-ready. Something for everyone, boy, girl, man, or woman.
Where do you hope PAL will be 10 years from now?
My idea is to become the new Ralph Lauren of our era and at the same time to have a small store somewhere on the road to Big Bear in Cali. A complete lifestyle brand with rugs, home-wear, and even children clothes.